Karen Rae, a 49-year-old single mother of two-daughters and businesswoman, teared up as she recited the lyrics of her late grandmother’s song, “Where in the World Have We Been?” Written more than a half-century ago, it’s still incredibly relevant today: “In circles of life we are running. Round and round we do spin. Days pass so fast we can’t count them – where in the world have we been?”
For Karen, at this moment in time, her path has never been clearer; however, this has not always been the case. She describes herself as a woman of strong faith and a serial entrepreneur. She is also a survivor of melanoma, which she recalled being one of the most uncertain times in her life, the second being the start of 2020.
“I ran my own advertising business in the automotive industry for 17 years. Then overnight, life just stopped, and there we were on lockdown,” said Karen.
Like so many, Karen and her family were forced to place their lives on hold as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“While it was a time of so much uncertainty and fear, it was also a blessing in disguise for my family. There were no workdays, volleyball games, school or otherwise. We were together with nothing to do and nowhere to go,” said Karen. “I was lying in bed one night and just had a sudden realization: I didn’t want things to go back to normal.”
According to Karen, the shutdown had given her time to take pause and reconnect with herself and her family.
“Before COVID-19, I was engulfed by the responsibilities of finances and family. Providing and making sure everyone was getting to school, to extra-curricular activities and that we had dinner on the table. Our home was taken care of, but I had lost sight of other areas of my life that were important to me and the things I needed to feel whole.”
Realizing that she had been neglecting key areas of her life, she set up a better organization and prioritized system. Karen says she jumped out of bed that very night—determined–and in what she calls divine inspiration jotted out the framework for what was to become the BalancedLife Planner® before the sun appeared in the morning sky.
“I finished writing and thought to myself, ‘wow, I need this.’ Then I thought, ‘so do other people,’” exclaimed Karen. “I didn’t set out to create a planner, much less a business, but I felt called to share this with the world. I found my life’s purpose.”
Karen has spent the last six months perfecting the BalancedLife Planner® and working with publishers to create the physical product. She recently built a website where others can pre-order the planner and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for printing and distribution.
Through all of this, Karen says, the process of starting a new business helped her grow closer with her family, both young and old. Karen’s two daughters, ages 10 and 13, have been involved from the start. Karen’s oldest, who is entering the eighth grade, even has plans to launch an organizer for girls her age.
“I come from a family of strong female entrepreneurs. My mother and grandmother both had businesses. As a side effect of creating BalancedLife, I feel that I’ve inspired my daughters to be the fourth generation of our family to follow their path to success,” said Karen. “I hope that I’ve shown them selflessness, sacrifice, determination and passion, as my mother and grandmother did for me.”
In a way, Karen’s journey to create a life planner feels like a response to her grandmother’s lyrics – “where in the world have we been?” Instead, where can we go?
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